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Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark

Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, and Guy Clark

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Jan. 25, 2002

Phases and Stages

Steve Earle/Townes Van Zandt/ Guy Clark

Together at the Bluebird Café (American Originals) For fans of Texas singer-songwriters, this live recording is a major find. A benefit show held in 1995 at Nashville's shrine for songs, the tiny Bluebird Cafe (capacity 60, tops) rounded up Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, and Guy Clark for a night of wild stories, bad jokes, and songs about truth. It's one of those shows you wish you had been at. That said, this can't-miss combo is just a little off. If you've seen any of these songwriters live (and surely this is a collection primarily for fans) you've seen them render songs like "I Ain't Ever Satisfied," "Pancho & Lefty," and "Dublin Blues" with a little more emotion, a little more resolve. Still, when three of the finest songwriters of Lone Star songcraft swap songs, it's an event fans of the three are going to want for posterity's sake. Moment's like Clark's exquisite "Randall Knife," Earle's "My Old Friend the Blues," and Van Zandt's story about his losing a gold tooth gambling (the Interfaith Dental Clinic was the beneficiary of the night) are worth the cover charge. Not essential by any means, but you'll still wish you'd had that table near the front.

***

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